Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons, including tooth decay, injury, infection, and for orthodontic treatment. Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices. The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient, however anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent discomfort during the procedure.
Types of Extractions
There are two forms of extractions: simple and surgical.
Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth and that do not require sectioning the tooth or incising the gum tissue for removal. These extractions are performed on teeth that must be removed due to extensive decay or injury, or even orthodontic treatment, and are usually performed under a local anesthetic. During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the instrument back and forth until the supporting structures widen enough to allow the removal of the tooth.
Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line, have not yet come in, or those that cannot be easily extracted. To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area. This is necessary for visibility, so that we can see the tooth that needs to be removed. Surgical extractions are usually performed under local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is sometimes preferred, especially for wisdom teeth extractions.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
The most common reason for the removal of a tooth is severe decay or breakage of a tooth that cannot be saved. However, teeth may also be removed because of:
- Severe tooth decay or infection
- Extra teeth that are blocking other teeth from growing in (supernumerary teeth)
- Severe gum disease
- Orthodontic treatment
- Non-restorable teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Cosmetic reasons
Regardless of the reasons that a tooth must be pulled, extractions are usually reserved only for cases in which no other treatment option will cure the infection or problem.